Interesting Jay. I have no problem getting thin lines in acrylic, but I'm struggling with oil lines. I'm getting better, but they are nowhere near the quality I want.
Years ago, I used to use a liquid acrylic ink that came in various colors. It was called FW Acrylic artists ink - Daler Rowney. I was able to get hairlines and it mixed well with the regular acrylic paints. I'd suggest getting a few colors like black, white, yellow, magenta, and cyan to see if you like the quality. You can use these with a technical pen, airbrush, brush etc. If you find that the white is still not opaque enough, mix a little of the regular acrylic to thicken it up. Another option is to use gesso with a little matte medium mixed in. You can also mix a little white acrylic with water to thin it down. It might be a good idea tohave a small jar or vile that is pre-mixed to the consistency you like.
I get great fine lines in acrylic paint with a 'fatliner' brush. They have a nice bulk of brush near the base to hold the paint and just a few strands of brush at the top - much much better than a rigger brush.
Thanks for that advice on the fatliner brush, Mike. I'll pick up one of those.
Mike, congratulations on your Finalist in Acrylic award on Bold Brush for Adelaide shadows
thanks Sharon - it was a real buzz!
Absolutely beautiful detail. I love this painting.
Peter, here's a detail from my latest painting Lightkeeper. The fine grasses were painted with as little water as possible that still delivered a strong line. I used broad dark washes first, then blades of slightly brighter (but still dark) greens, then I added various yellows and blues, and opaque Naples Yellow. I restored certain lost darks and crossed them again with lines. I glazed various greens, blues and siennas, and introduced opaque leaf shapes in the shadows. The undiluted pure whites were placed with the tip of a palette knife or the very point of a brush, as brushing makes white more transparent.
There are a lot of wonderful suggestions on this posting. I might as well get in the act.
I think that ruling fine lines with a brush and straight edge is the best way to acheive "straight lines" with acrylic. It is a skill that can be easily learned with a little practice and it is a skill that you can put to use in so many ways. This is the way I go about it:
I unscrew the cross bar from a plastic t-square and use the long, plastic arm for a straight edge. This is a marvelous tool but you can use a ruler or any firm, straight guide. The width of the plastic arm of a t-square allows you to get a good grip on it. You can hold the straight edge steady to the painting surface easily and keep it at a slight angle . That angle can be adjusted easily by the way you are holding it. You can then glide the brush along the plastic edge. I use the finger nails of my middle and third fingers to glide the brush the brush along the plastic edge. I find that I get best results when the position of my arm remains rigid from the shoulder to the hand and brush. The brush is pulled along the straight edge by the movement of the torso. This allows the brush to maintain a constant angle and pressure to the paper. I find it easier to do this from a standing position with the painting surface almost flat and the line ruled horizontally. There are all sorts of variations on this—however, I feel this is a good method to start with—and practice.
I find Winsor/Newton series 7 brushes are best for this sort of work. Also, I use "fluid" or "liquid" acrylic paint — or acrylic inks to do ruling. If I'm using fluid acrylics, I dilute them so they will flow easily in a ruled line. If necessary, I rule the line a second time for opacity. Even hairlines can be done this way.
A more painted look can be achieved with slight modifications to this process. There are all sorts of ways to do this—one way is to rule a diluted line on the first pass and then rule the same line with a dry brush. The diluted line of the first pass gives the line a good straight direction and the second pass offers a painted look. For a rougher line, the second pass can be ruled in segments, a sort of "stop and go" method.
I've been able to draw fine lines by using a small plastic squeeze bottle very much like the ones used in restaurants for ketchup and mustard only smaller. These can be used freehand or with a raised straight edge. I bought a dozen or so from a craft store and cut the tip to adjust the flow for the thickness of the medium.
A little practice will serve well in getting used to what they can do.
See my gallery and blog here:
Several ways you can do what you are trying.... the louvers will be a combination of hard and soft edges.
For hard edges in acylic:
1. One way is with house painters tape (blue, by 3M)..... the problem to avoid is the raised edge at the junction with the tape. You really need to burnish the tape to have a tight bond with the acrylic already on the canvas. I have painted as thinly as possible with several coats, trying to keep the brush "dry" and to freehand follow the tape edge, then peeled the tape back after each coat has dried to check for bleed thru or buildup. What I call bleed thru is just color bleeding under the tape usually from either too much water on your brush or failure to burnish a tight bond to the canvas.
2. Another way with tape is with acrylic airbrush paints applied with an airbrush. Again, you want to avoid a buildup along the tape edge, so paint thin. Or, a cardboard mask sprayed with an airbrush will also give you a straight edge.
3. A third way is with a palette knife. Apply the paint to the edge on the pallette, use a straight-edge if you want. Immediately correct any deviations from what you want by wiping away with a damp paper towel (Viva is a good brand in the US). This takes a little practice.
4. A fourth way would be with a straight edge and acrylic paint thinned with medium, applied with a toothbrush raked by a palette knife to give a light splatter. This is the lowest tech and probably the easiest.
Hope this helps.
try using an architects draughting pen - the old calipher type that is. my students use them for thier very fine work. dilute the acrylic a bit, use a eye dropper put the ink between the blades and adjust to point size required. practice first on paper. am not sure what they are called american.
the best prooven methon is
useig liquid paint in plastic bottle with a fine head
i use dimentional fabric paint
from plaid enterprises
i am sdure there are other suppliersh
I have come across your post much later and many members of this great forum community has suggested their useful opinion i hope you have get any useful suggestion. You should follow their instruction for fine lines in an Acrylic painting.
Valentines Day Gift Ideas
Hello Peter, I am new to this site so the out of date may apply. I recently discovered, by accident, that a company called 'mont marte' have a brush set (3) called 'FATliner' these were available in what we descibe here in Australia as budget art supplies - they are PERFECT!!! for acrylic fine lines. A strange brush almost constructed in two parts with with a mop style at the ferrel with a long tapered liner, the theory is water/paint slowly keeps an even flow by gravity. Hope this helps. Martin